Meriden couple sentenced for Medicaid fraud

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ROCKY HILL — Two Meriden residents, Eugenio Ortiz, 40, and Maria Perez, 41, were sentenced on March 13 for their roles in a Medicaid fraud scheme involving billing for unprovided Personal Care Assistant services.

The sentencing, which took place in Meriden Superior Court, was presided over by the Honorable David Zagaja.

Ortiz and Perez were each given a three-year prison sentence, with the execution of this sentence suspended, followed by three years of probation.

They were ordered to pay $2,700 in restitution immediately, with an additional $2,600.97 to be paid during their probation period. Additionally, the court prohibited the defendants from acting as providers in the Medicaid program.

The charges, to which both Ortiz and Perez pleaded guilty on December 13, 2023, include Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community and Health Insurance Fraud, both Class B felonies under Connecticut law.

As Personal Care Assistants enrolled in the Connecticut Medical Assistants Program, the pair were supposed to assist older adults and people with disabilities in daily living activities.

However, an investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit revealed that between January and June 2020, Ortiz, who was incarcerated at the time, and Perez, submitted false timesheets for services not rendered.

This led to the couple illicitly receiving $5,300.97 from the Connecticut Medicaid Program.

The investigation, which highlighted the fraudulent activities, involved collaboration between the Connecticut Department of Social Services – Office of Quality Assurance, the Meriden Police Department, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

The Unit, which led the prosecution, is primarily funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In the wake of this case, the Connecticut Medicaid Fraud Control Unit urges the public to report any suspected fraud or abuse in the healthcare system.

The Unit can be contacted through the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney at (860) 258-5986.

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